Senior Apartments: How to Choose a Retirement Home
If you’re an elderly person, and you’re finding it more and more difficult to perform your usual daily activities, then taking a look at senior apartments might be the solution for you. Retirement homes are an excellent place to spend your golden years relaxing, reading, taking trips, and enjoying fine dining, all in the company of other seniors you’ll quickly befriend. But how do you go about choosing a retirement home? In fact, it’s not that difficult and here are all the tips and tricks you need to know.
Are Senior Apartments the Appropriate Choice for You?
Deciding to move away from your home can be difficult. You might have doubts about it or consider it too big of a change for you. Therefore, to find out if senior apartments are your best option, ask yourself the following questions.
- Do you require your friends and family to help you more than so far? If for example, you now need help with even the smallest of tasks, such as taking out the garbage, getting out of bed or feeding the dog, you might need to check yourself into a retirement home.
- Does being alone at home make you feel sad, depressed, isolated or even scared? As we all know, a healthy social life is crucial to our well-being. People are social creatures, and they feel good when they are surrounded by other people with whom they can share their life. This is exactly what senior apartments can offer you – the social context in which you can meet people your own age. They also provide recreational activities and, more importantly, a feeling of belonging to a group and having a social life.
- Are you worried that something will happen to you? Being stressed about your safety is yet another reason why you should consider checking into a retirement home. Maybe you’re scared that you will fall and break an arm or a leg or that you won’t be able to get up. Are you afraid that, since your mobility is limited you won’t be able to defend yourself in case something happens?
When living in senior apartments, all these worries disappear as by magic. The nurses and other caregivers are there around the clock to help you out and make sure absolutely nothing harmful comes your way.
- Are you unable to cope with maintaining your house anymore? There comes a time when, after a lifetime of cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, and washing dishes you simply cannot do it anymore. There’s also the added groceries shopping, cooking and doing laundry. Senior apartments have the amazing ability to make you feel right at home but without the burden of doing all these anymore.
- Is mobility an issue for you now? If you feel it’s getting more and more tiresome or even physically challenging to drive a car or use public transportation, it’s senior apartments to the rescue once more. They have car services that, while you’re there, take you anywhere you need. You don’t have to drive yourself anymore, nor depend on your friends and family to do it for you.
How to Choose the Best Senior Apartments
Once you’ve decided this is the best move for you, start researching retirement homes. Don’t limit yourself to the area in which you are currently living. If for example, you always dreamed of living in Texas, this is your chance.
After you’ve done your homework and collected all the information you need, make a shortlist of your preferred ones. Choose four or five and visit them. Here are the things you need to be on the look-out for when you pay them a visit, except rent.
#1. Concerning the staff
- They should take the time to speak to you, answer all your questions, and guide you on a tour of the surroundings. If they don’t and rush through everything, that might mean this is their attitude in general or that they are understaffed. Either way, it might not be the best place in which to spend your final years.
- The staff should be friendly and interested in you, your life, and family.
- How does the staff interact with the residents? Are they warm, nurturing, and patient?
- Does the staff seem swamped, appear like they have a lot of work to do or stressed?
- Ask the employees how they handle emergencies. It’s best to ask a specific question or have them give you a particular example.
#2. Concerning the residents
- Are the senior citizens already living there looking happy? You can talk to them as much as you want and ask them if they like living there.
- Do the residents like spending all that time in each other’s company? If not, why?
- Do the elderly housed there seem like a group of people you could easily befriend? Do you like them? Are you going to be able to interact with them on a daily basis?
- Senior apartments ordinarily facilitate all sorts of activities, hobbies, and groups. Are you interested in any? Because if, for example, you don’t like pottery and musicals, it might not be the retirement home for you.
#3. Concerning the facility itself
- It has to be affordable, a place where your loved one can lead an independent life, and reasonably close to you from a geographical point of view. Texas offers some great senior apartments in areas such as Houston, San Antonio, Plano, Madison County, Dallas, South Padre Island, River Run, Fresno, and Canyon, a heritage city in Randall County.
These are some of the best rental and assisted living facilities in the country, where the cost of housing for every elderly citizen is personalized.
- The buildings need to be as clean as possible and smell fresh. Ask to visit the bathrooms, courtyard, and all the rooms other than your private one in which you will have to spend your time.
- Ask how many times a week do the staff clean the rooms and the bathroom. See if you agree or not with that schedule.
- The facility should feel like a secure place. Does it give you that feeling?
- Can all the bathrooms be easily accessed? Are they equipped with handlebars so that you can use them on your own?
- Ask to see the actual room in which you will be housed. Do you like it? Can it become your home? Can you personalize it as you wish?
- Don’t forget about the food. Ask them to allow you the sampling of some of their foods. You may also enquire about the menu. If you happen to have any dietary restrictions, talk to the staff about them and see if they can be accommodated.
- If you want to eat in your room, will you be able to?
- Can the facility handle medical emergencies or only non-emergencies?
- Ask what happens if you develop a condition while living there, such as cancer, or a type of dementia. Is their staff sufficiently trained to handle you and your illness?
- Inquire about the budget you will need to sustain yourself in that particular facility. Make a plan centered around your income, be it low or high.
- Last but not least, do some research to see if the retirement home of your choosing is in compliance with state and federal law. Keep in mind every state has its own regulations when it comes to caring for the elderly. If you need help, talk to a professional.
How to Support a Loved One Who Is Moving to a Retirement Home
As far as aging people are concerned, any move can be stressful. The biggest fear factor for them is novelty itself. When it comes to senior apartments, apart from them fearing the unknown, they also fear they might be alone, that their families will forget about them or that they won’t make any friends while living there. Therefore, you need to make sure your loved one understands this is not the case. More importantly, you need to make them see exactly what they can expect from living in senior apartments.
- Make sure you let them know you understand their loss. It’s essential that you don’t minimize what they’re going through. They are, after all, moving from the house they possibly lived in for decades on end, where you and your siblings might have grown up, and where they had a happy marriage. This is a significant loss for them, albeit we are talking about moving to a new apartment. Even if they are moving willingly, that doesn’t mean they don’t regret the life they had and the sudden sense of an ending. If need be, hire a psychologist who can help you and your parent go through this.
- Allow your loved one to be involved in all the decision-making. If they are still lucid and able to, enable them to decide for themselves what they want. Unless they are suffering from Alzheimer’s or any other type of dementia that might impair their judgment, there is absolutely no need for you to call the shots.
Let them visit as many senior apartments as they want and to choose the one which they loved best. You can also allow them to sort through their belongings and to decide what they want to bring along and what they want to leave behind. It will give them a much-needed sense of control.
- Once they have settled in, call and visit as often as you can. As previously mentioned, they are usually faced with the dread that they will be forgotten in a strange and unfamiliar place, at the end of their life. Don’t let that happen. Visit them all the time, take your children, your friends and theirs, bring them small presents, sweets, and books.
Apart from that, do not exclude them from family events and gatherings. Just because they are now living in senior apartments, doesn’t mean they can’t get out. On Christmas and Thanksgiving, for example, as well as for birthdays and family celebrations, bring them home to visit. On the overall, it will make them feel like they still have a family, even if you are no longer living together.
- If they have concerns, talk about them. Don’t sweep anything under the rug. Whatever their concerns might be, take the time to discuss it and reassure them absolutely nothing is going to go wrong. It does, indeed, take a person 30 to 90 days to get accustomed to a new living environment, but that doesn’t mean their worries and stress are related solely to that.
They might be genuine, which means they won’t go away after the adjustment period has ended. Therefore, you need to address all these problems as soon as possible.
Choosing among the many senior apartments available on the market depends on your unique situation. The important thing here is to make the transition as easy as possible for your loved one, and all will be fine.